In Order to Live I Do Not Need

In order to live I do not need
islands, palaces, towers.
What a great joy it is:
to live among pronouns!
Take off the costumes, already,
the gestures, the portraits;
I don’t want you so,
unmasked by others,
always someone else’s daughter.
I want you pure, free,
irreducible: you.
I know that when I will call to you
among all the people
of the world,
only you will be you.
And when you ask me
who it is that is calling you,
who wants you for his own,
I will bury the titles,
the labels, the history.
I will go breaking all
that which they threw onto me
since before I was born.
And already turned to the eternal
anonymity of the nude,
of stone, of the world,
I will say to you:
“I love you, it is me.”

By Pedro Salinas
translated, from the Spanish, by Claudio Sansone

Claudio Sansone is a Foundation Scholar in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin. He has published a number of poems, academic articles, and a short story. He is currently the editor of Icarus (Ireland’s oldest creative writing publication) and the Trinity Journal of Literary Translation. He will be starting his PhD research in the U.S. in the coming academic year.

Pedro Salinas y Serrano (1891 – 1951) was a Spanish poet, a member of the Generation of ’27.